child well-being, stress and anxiety, exposure to violence and the reach of politicians in classrooms

Despite evidence of large-scale learning loss, few parents cite reading and math skills as a concern and more than 9 in 10 say their child is at grade level or above.

WASHINGTON, June 23, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Parents say their child’s happiness and well-being, their child’s safety, and the reach of politicians in the classroom top their concerns in the seventh Learning Heroes’ annual national survey of parents and educators, released today.

The survey provides important insight into the desires and concerns of parents and educators two years into the massively disruptive COVID-19 pandemic and amid deep political polarization that has seeped into the debate over the classroom teaching.

“Parents and educators have a Herculean task ahead of them to address setbacks in children’s learning and well-being. They recognize that the key to recovery efforts is teaming up to support students,” said Bibb Hubbard, Founder and President of Learning Heroes. “But significant barriers remain because the system is designed to separate parents and teachers. We need to listen to parents and educators and put in place the structures and supports that we know will pay dividends in student achievement, educator retention, and family engagement.

The poll, Hidden in Plain Sight: A Path Forward for Equity-Focused Family Engagement, found that parents—who have high aspirations for their child’s education—prioritize direct, truthful information about their child’s performance in school, even when things are not going well (85 % absolute priority/very important). Yet parents’ perceptions do not always match reality: 84% of parents say their child gets all B’s or better and more than nine in 10 (92%) say their child is at or above the grade level despite the fact that many students have not made academic progress during the pandemic and perform below grade level on the National Education Progress Assessment. However, the parents agree[1] it will be essential that families and teachers work closely together (89%) and trust each other (84%) to help cope with the impact of the pandemic on learning.

Sixty-eight percent of parents worry a little or a lot about politicians who are not educators making decisions about what happens in the classroom, followed by their child’s happiness and well-being (65 %), their child suffering from stress/anxiety (60%) and their child being exposed to violence at school (60%). The investigation was conducted before the shooting at the school in Uvalde, Texas.

These worries are at the forefront of concerns such as a family member contracting COVID-19 or paying their bills, according to the survey. Educators share similar concerns: the survey showed that politicians making decisions about school programs were a top concern for educators (68%), along with the happiness and well-being of their students (68%) , students receiving the academic support they need from their parents (66%), and the challenges they face at home, such as poverty/food insecurity (65%), and that students meet academic expectations for their grade (64%).

Other key research findings:

Parents have high aspirations and support fair practices in schools

  • Parental aspirations are high, with 77% of parents saying it is absolutely essential or very important for their child to go to university.

  • When asked whether they agreed or disagreed with statements about family engagement, “equity, meaning that every student receives the support they need to thrive based on their individual needs”, came out on top, with 54% totally agreeing.

  • Almost 8 in 10 (78%) agree that more support is needed to help staff members identify and correct any biases they may have when trying to communicate with parents/families.

  • More than a third of parents (36%) say they have spoken to a school administrator or counselor about an incident where they believe a teacher was prejudiced against their child because of race, ethnicity or family background.

A little information goes a long way

  • A staggering 92% of parents, regardless of race, ethnicity or background, believe
    their child is at grade level or above, while only 59% of teachers think most students will show up for grade level work next year.

  • However, when presented with multiple pieces of information, parents’ understanding changes dramatically. When asked to imagine receiving the following: their child received a B on their report card in math, their child’s end-of-year status test results indicate that they are below grade level grade level in math, and their child’s results on other standardized tests indicate that their child is below grade level in math, 57% of parents say they would be extremely or very worried.

Beyond the headlines

  • While parents say they want the opportunity to air their feelings on some of the issues that have dominated the news, relatively few expressed concerns about the school curriculum at a school board meeting (19% ), provided feedback on recommended books (17%), or requested that their child be excused from an assignment (12%) this school year.

About the survey

The survey was conducted in partnership with National PTA, National Urban League, UnidosUS and Univision. The survey research associated with this effort included two online surveys – one of parents and one of educators:

National Online Parent Survey – This survey was a national online survey (n=1,405) of parents/guardians of K-12 children in public school. Survey respondents were recruited using an online non-probability sample with defined quotas to ensure demographically representative audiences. The survey also included oversamples of Black and Hispanic parents to support greater statistical validity when examining responses among these audiences. The oversampled data and the dataset were weighted so that the final sample was representative of the US population of parents of public students according to the latest publicly available American Community Survey data. The survey was
offered in English and Spanish and put into service from April 6 to May 4, 2022.

National online survey of educators – This national online survey included teachers (n=300) and principals (n=317) who currently work in K-12 public schools. Survey respondents were recruited using a non-probability online sample focused specifically on teachers and school principals in the United States. Survey data has been weighted to be representative of these respective audiences in the United States. The survey was offered in English and was conducted from April 19 to May 14, 2022. .

Edge Research follows the American Association for Public Opinion Research best practices for data collection.

About learning heroes

Learning Heroes supports parents as the most effective advocate for their child’s education, catalyzing equitable learning environments for all students. Through partnerships with organizations parents know and trust, we reach more than 20 million parents every year. For more information, visit www.bealearninghero.org.

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[1] Includes those who strongly agree and somewhat agree.

CONTACT: David Park Learning Heroes 202-375-3133 [email protected]

Norma A. Roth